07 July 2011

Inspiration = Breathing-In

Wheelchair Dancer challenged me the other day. She challenged me to find the joy in disability.

My first reaction: NO WAY.

The emotions that cascaded over me as we sat over coffee included emergency-room fear, frustration with the process of getting back into shape from zero yet again after another winter of difficult breathing, worry about what the future will bring and the family I support, despair over the knowledge that illness will recur, though I don't know when.

Today, I went out for a run after sitting in traffic for 2 1/2 hours on the way back from the office. (It's my disability off-season. The lights are dark, the performers are elsewhere.) I started out slow; my back was stiff and my legs felt heavy.

As usual, I noticed the gimpy, the asymmetrical; I saw those who were struggling for whatever reason. Here or there eye contact; a small nod of recognition.

And I found, for just a moment, the joy. Today, I can do this. The weight room has given me strength, running has given me stamina; my back loosened up and my legs found lightness and I was, simply, running, a runner, wind off the East River cooling my face, my body meant to move across the miles.

Thank you, Wheelchair Dancer. Thank you for inspiration.